If you have a tween or teenage girl in your house, then you know who Harry, Liam, Zayn, Louis and Niall are.
If not, I'll tell you: they are members of British-Irish One Direction, the most popular band in the world. How popular? They sell out 65,000-seat arenas in hours.
They can't go out in public for fear of causing riots. They are adored from Mayorca to Mexico City to Moscow. This movie, directed by Supersized Morgan Spurlock, follows the band around but doesn't really tell us who they are.
Here's what the critics are saying:
Director Morgan Spurlock's superficial chronicle of the British-Irish quintet's rise to fame (** 1/2 out of four; rated PG, opens Friday nationwide) offers no new insight for the millions of young devotees of the massively popular boy band made up of Harry Styles, 19; Louis Tomlinson, 21; Zayn Malik, 20; Liam Payne, 20; and Niall Horan, 19. Most of One D's largely female fan base already knows — or thinks it knows — more about the singers than this film offers up. But for the masses it's a reasonably intriguing, if rather sanitized, look at these seemingly likable young entertainers. Claudia Puig, USA Today
We get to know them (or at least the image of them that Cowell and company want us to have), and they’re charming: each of them seems gobsmacked by the sudden fame, grateful to the fans who made it possible, and thrilled to be doing what they’re doing. All of this makes “This Is Us” a reasonably fun sit, but if you’re looking for a documentary that’s going to rip the lid off what the lives of this band is really like, you’re not going to get it. There are no fights, no diva fits, no groupies, no drugs, not even any bad language. It’s as visually stimulating and kid-friendly as a Lisa Frank binder. Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
No personal revelations surface in “This Is Us.” Also, no narrative, no conflict — no differentiation between band members, even, besides the designation of dark-eyed Zayn as “the mysterious one” (he likes to paint). And I really had to laugh at the clip of a British TV host describing them as “slightly anarchic.” I mean, unless Harry being wheeled around in a trash can by bandmates is a veiled comment on the British class system. Sara Stewart, New York Post
This doesn’t set out to be a movie that gets at anything more than making the One Direction guys look adorable, if maybe just a little darker than your average boy-band bunch. (This is accomplished mostly through a critic saying their music is a little edgier than bands like ’NSync. ) Instead, “One Direction: This Is Us” is a glossy fan letter, with plenty of concert footage and cutesy interviews lovingly shot for maximum audience reaction. Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic
Spurlock keeps everything surface-level and seems uninterested in diving any deeper than discussions of fans and friendship. In interviews, the guys spend a lot of time talking about how much they like one another and how wonderful their fans are, but not much else. There also is no mention of what it is like to be that famous. All five seem to come from fairly modest backgrounds, and one admits that they rarely go out in public anymore. No one ever shares what living like that is like. Then again, their fans won't miss it. "This Is Us" gives them exactly what they want. Paul Doro, Milwaukee Sentinel